Joseph W. Shea III Esq.

Joseph W. Shea III Esq.

Cincinnati, Ohio
picture of Joe Shea

Mr. Shea has practiced law in the field of civil litigation since his graduation from law school in 1974. He has received recognition many times throughout his career. These accolades include the 2019 Super Lawyer listing as being one of only 75 lawyers statewide to have been Top Listed by vote of lawyers, judges and review of his work for 10 years in a row.

Cincy Magazine listed him as a “Leading Lawyer” in the Tristate area each year the annual award has been given (2004-2019). He has been listed in Best Lawyers in America every year since 1993. Cincinnati Business Courier newspaper has honored him as one of the “Best Lawyers in the Tristate” for 15 years in a row. In addition, Martindale-Hubbell, the 125-year-old lawyer rating organization, rated him and the SheaHartmann firm as “Preeminent” in the field of civil litigation every year for the past 26 years. Only three other Cincinnati law firms match that distinction and those three firms are each more than 20 times larger in size. Corporate USA Today listed SheaHartmann the number one Ohio Boutique Civil Litigation firm for 2017 and again in 2019.

Mr. Shea has written several published law books. He was also the founder and CEO of Casemaker Nationwide Online Law Libraries which presently serves nearly 400,000 lawyers and judges. Mr. Shea was appointed by Chief Justice Thomas Moyer to be an examiner for the Ohio Supreme Court of Bar Examiners where he served for 14 bar exams writing a record number of utilized essay questions and model answers for each examination. Justice Moyer also appointed him to serve as the Supreme Court’s Chief examiner to oversee the examination process and other examiners in 2006 - 2007.

Chase Law School presented him with its Outstanding Alumni of the Year Award in 2008. The Ohio State Bar Association’s Foundation bestowed its highest commendation upon him, the Ritter Award. This prestigious award is given each year to only one of Ohio’s 38,000 lawyers or alternatively to one law-related organization for the accomplishment of the highest degree of professionalism, ethics and contribution to the legal profession. In 2008 when he received the award, he was only the 11th person receiving it as practicing lawyer in the 40 years of its existence. In 2017, the Cincinnati Bar Association presented him with the John P. Kiely Award which is bestowed upon one lawyer each year for highest trial skills, decorum and demeanor. In 2009, the University of Cincinnati honored him as the Alumni of the Month in the McMicken College Magazine.

In 2013 former U.S. Senator and Ohio Attorney General Michael DeWine appointed him as “Special Outside Counsel” to serve as the lead litigation trial counsel in a large recovery effort of taxpayers funds that were allegedly exhausted by improper utilization. After three years of litigation, a large recovery was made from the shareholders of the defunct corporation. In 2018, he was asked to lead a major case against a Columbus defaulting business debtor and successfully concluded that case within four months of assignment. He continues as “Special Counsel” to the new Ohio Attorney General David Yost.

Curriculum vitae

Bar Admissions:

  • Ohio, 1974
  • Kentucky, 1999
  • U.S. District Court Southern District of Ohio, 1975
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of Kentucky, 2000
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 6th Circuit, 1979
  • U.S. Supreme Court, 1984


  • Salmon P. Chase College of Law, Highland Heights, Kentucky, J.D. - 1974
  • Honors: National Moot Court
  • Class President - all years

  • Outstanding Graduate 2008
  • University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio, B.A. - 1969
  • Major: Philosophy

Publishing Experience

Founder, CEO, Casemaker Nationwide Law Libraries 1986-2008 Sole owner 1986-2001, Partner with Ohio State Bar Association, 2001- 2008
Ohio Evidence Manual, Ohio Rules of Evidence with Analysis, Casemaker Print Publishing, 2005, 2008, 2011, 2013 Shea's Ohio Civil Trial Practice with Forms, Harrison Publishing Company, 1984
Terminology Guide for the Reporting of Civil Litigation, American Board of Trial Advocates, 1996-2016
How to Inherit More than your Cousin – 2018 (children’s book) Contributing author to published books:
"Sample Testimony” Wrongful Death in Ohio (1982 – 2012), Anderson Publishing Company
"Investigation of Witnesses and Statements" Civil Litigation in Ohio, Ohio Legal Center Institute of the State Bar Association, 1984, 1986, 1988, 1990, 1992, 1994-2000, 2002, 2006, 2009


Potter Stewart American Inn of Court, 2001-2006, Master Emeritus, 2006- current
Faculty Member, Litigation Forum, Case Western Reserve University School of Law, 1981-1982, 1983, 1984
"Masters in Trial" (Mock Jury Trial), ABOTA, Kansas City, Kansas, 1992 "Masters in Trial" (Mock Jury Trial), ABOTA, Columbus, Ohio, 1993 - 1994

Pro Bono Activities:

  • Chase Law School Foundation 2009-current
  • Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati, Board of Directors, 2000 - 2005
  • The Indian Hill Club, Board of Directors, 1984 - 1988
  • The Indian Hill Club, President, 1987 - 1988
  • The Village of Indian Hill Board of Recreation, Commission Member, 1978 - 1996
  • The Village of Indian Hill Board of Recreation, President, 1989 – 1992
  • Indian Hill High School Booster Board 1993-1999, President 1996-1999
  • Glenn Beach Association, Harbor Springs MI, Board of Directors 1995-current,
  • President 1999-2011

Honors and Awards:

  • John P. Kiely Award, Cincinnati Bar Association 2017, award given to one lawyer each year in recognition of highest trial skills, ethics and demeanor
  • Ritter Award, Ohio State Bar Foundation, given once a year to a lawyer, judge or association for outstanding professionalism, ethics and contribution to the profession: Only 11th practicing lawyer to receive the award in 40 years up to the time of his commendation.
  • Outstanding Graduate, Salmon B. Chase College of Law, 2008

Professional Appointments:

  • Ohio Supreme Court Board of Bar Examiners (member) 1996-2006
  • Chief Examiner 2006-2007 (appointed by J. Moyer)
  • Re-appointed as member, 2007-2008
  • Ohio Attorney General
  • Appointed as Outside Special Counsel 2011-2019

Invitational Professional Societies:

  • American College of Trial Lawyers, 1999-current
  • International Society of Barristers, 1990-currrent
  • American Board of Trial Advocates, 1989-current, National Representative 1990- current

Ratings and Professional Rankings

  • Martindale Hubbell, Preeminent Rating, Civil Litigation, 1993-current
  • Woodward White, Best Lawyers in America listed in annual book, 1993-current
  • Ohio SuperLawyer, Listed all years
  • Ohio SuperLawyer, 2019, one of 75 Top Listed Ohio Lawyers for past decade (2009-2019)
  • Ohio Top 100 SuperLawyer and/or Top 50 Cincinnati 2009-current
  • Cincy Biz Magazine, Leading Lawyer, 2004-current
  • Cincinnati Business Courier, Best Lawyers in Tri-State, all years
  • Best Firms in America, US News and World Report, All years
  • Preeminent Firm in Civil Litigation, Martindale-Hubbell, 1993-current
  • Best Boutique Civil Litigation Firms in Ohio, Global Law Experts, 2016, 2018
  • Boutique Civil Litigation Law Firm of the Year in Ohio, Corporate USA Today, 2017, 2019
Leadership Roles:
  • President 1984-5, Ohio Association for Justice
  • Cincinnati Chapter ABOTA, secretary 1989-current, National Representative, 1989-current